Review by Luka on August 5, 2002.
It seems all too often I’m describing bands this way lately: "typical" this-or-that. Perhaps the metal world is becoming spoiled with so many unique bands that now when I buy a straight forward album from a straight forward band like Naglfar I am more or less disappointed at the lack of creativity from them. This is a typical black metal album indeed; typical shrieks, typical blast-beats, typical flat sounding bass-drums, typical booklet photos of the band members donning medieval armor and swords... and ironically, I even notice a marked Gothenburg melodic influence in Naglfar as they are from Sweden rather than the black metal-homeland Norway. Talk about a cliché! I would know everything there is to this band if someone simply told me they are "Swedish black metal".
Not to rag on the Norwegians here but I have to say that when it comes to metal, artists from Sweden are usually a lot more open-minded and creative. Naglfar’s influence seems to be an equal split between boring, traditional black metal and a creative melodic style. On one side "Vittra" is as hard to sit through as is the average black metal album but it has enough energy and presence (with a clear Tägtgren production) to bend the ear in a different way and keep you firmly interested, this is especially true of the two very Amon Amarth-like opening songs.
Due to problems with the Wrong Again label it seems that this album has now become something of a rarity. I bought my copy from eBay at a most disagreeable price and the album was hardly worth it, so unless some accessible record label re-issues this my advice would be to not bother looking for it. While definitely a great release for its time, Naglfar’s sound wouldn’t turn too many heads in today’s thriving metal scene. There is a lot of better stuff out there that’s easier to find.
Bottom Line: Naglfar draw a fine line between boring, traditional black metal and something genuinely good. You’re better off going for bands that are just genuinely good.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 6.8 out of 10